A blueprint for the renovation of Ernakulam Junction railway station at a cost of Rs.12 crore has been forwarded to the Railway Board.
This follows years of neglect of the city’s premier station, despite successive Railway Budgets promising to convert it into a world-class station.
Efforts would be made to renovate the station by adopting the traditional architecture styles of Kerala, said Rajesh Agarwal, Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager, on Monday.
With the renovation, the station is expected to sport a new look, right from its main entry to the eastern entry.
“The Railway is faced with a resources crunch. This week, we will hold discussions with representatives of banks, heads of civic agencies and people’s representatives on how best to mobilise funds for the works,” he said.
The station’s architecture, ambience and amenities would be improved and work would be completed in six months if funds were mobilised locally. Merchant associations and corporate groups could also chip in, he said.
An upper class waiting room and executive lounge have been planned.
To a question on the Railway not installing a board on the eastern entry that displays the platform each train calls at, Mr. Agarwal said the agency was open to sponsors installing television screens at platforms, where train-arrival information could be screened.
A roof for Platform 6 was also among the proposals.
Mr. Agarwal said work was afoot to widen the entry to the station and to streamline vehicle flow in the clock-wise direction.
Parcel and other offices on the southern side would be relocated to the northern side.
The aim was to decongest the station through optimal utilisation of existing land. A similar initiative could be taken up at the Ernakulam Town station too, provided the State government and other stakeholders pooled in with funds, he said.
The Thiruvananthapuram Division plans 20 more reservation counters in the suburbs of cities, in towns and remote places.
On complaints about Jan Shatabdi Express trains leaving the station before passengers boarded them, Mr. Agarwal said passengers should exit through one door and enter through the other of each coach to prevent congestion. While stating that awareness was required on this, he said the Railways could not be the lead agency in creating awareness.
The government could post marshals to direct passengers. Efforts were on to speed up the train so commuters could travel from Ernakulam to Thiruvananthapuram in two-and-a-half hours, he said.
The DRM said Jansadharan ticket booking counters located outside stations needed more patronage through way of publicity.
Ernakulam Area Manager of Southern Railway, P.L. Asok Kumar, was also present at the press conference.